Jesus Ahead, by Larry Thacker

There’s a church of some denomination,

from mountain Catholics to Saturday night

snake-handlers, on every other corner of town.

It makes you wonder how such a diversely churched

place could crank out such a constant stream

of arrests from drugs, violence, and theft.


You find a perfect rendition of the cross

on a chipping back alley wall and photograph it.

Someone offers in their nicest Sunday morning voice,

See, the Savior’s everywhere, ain’t he?


On the way to photograph the destruction

of mountaintop removal and strip mining coal sites,

you pass a boulder with some religious graffiti,

Jesus is Coming? Are you Ready? which

at first makes you wonder if they meant around

that hairpin turn, or like the Rapture, and then

you start wondering which Commandment

evangelical vandalism might fall under. Or if it might

actually earn you extra points by some Old Testament

small print loophole.

Or would Jesus have

preferred the advertising been located in a better

marketing location rather than up on some ridge road

hardly anyone uses? Or whether the church

that rented the expensive “We need to talk – God

signboard along Highway 25E might have

saved some money by using a few cans

of spray paint on a rock down near town?


Jesus ain’t saying, so we’re on our own, I guess. 

Larry D. Thacker is a writer and artist. His poetry can be found in over ninety journals and magazines, including past issues of The Still Journal, Poetry South, Mad River Review, Mojave River Review, The Southern Poetry Anthology, Unbroken Journal, Broad River Review, Ghost City Press, Jazz Cigarette and Appalachian Heritage. 

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